Chronicle reporter Chris Waugh has delivered a worrying update on the status of Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon.
The Venezuelan forward was brought in by Rafael Benitez on loan from West Brom during the summer. However, he hasn't played since late last month, having come off with a thigh injury against Crystal Palace on September 22.
Benitez confirmed Rondon trained last week but the forward was not in the squad that played Brighton & Hove Albion on the weekend. And while there is hope the striker could feature against Southampton this Saturday, Waugh claims to have seen him limping after the loss to the Seagulls.
"Worryingly, as journalists waited in the mixed zone after the defeat to Brighton, Rondon exited the stadium via the side of the pitch, appearing to limp at points," the journalist wrote in The Chronicle. "Whether that was due to his thigh injury, or merely just the unusual way he walks, was unclear.
"What is obvious that Benitez needs Rondon back as soon as possible, and for the striker to come good - and quickly. Otherwise, Newcastle can play as well as they want, but they simply will not score enough."
Meanwhile, Benitez has admitted that time is running out for Newcastle, with the side having lost their seventh game of the season at the weekend.
The Spaniard brought the club back to the top flight and steered them clear of the drop last season. However, it's going to be quite a task after watching them fail to record a single win in their first nine league games.
“We’re a little bit under pressure because the time is short now," Benitez said after Saturday's loss.
“Everybody is a bit down. We lost a game we deserved to win but we have to keep going.”